Thanksgiving The Way It Was

Well, I’m going to have to burst your bubble today and tell you that the turkey, stuffing, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, green beans with the dried fried onions and pumpkin pie weren’t a part of the first Thanksgiving. Sure we had turkeys, but it was held near a coastal region so there was most likely more seafood and shellfish and deer. Since the English didn’t really have the tools to cook most of the food was cooked the way the Native Americans cooked. There was probably some form of gruel or porridge because the Indians knew things like how to cook acorns without poisoning themselves from the high amounts of tannic acids in them.

What we know as Thanksgiving actually came about during the Victorian Era in the United States. They were the ones who started serving turkey with all the fixings much like we have today, except the Victorians didn’t have pumpkin lattes. For some reason, a person of some amount of influence cooked a turkey and their guests like the idea and it started to spread.

People approach holidays in many different ways, some hate getting together with the family, others love it and then there are the rebels that are somewhere in between. Thanksgiving was a holiday that I realized something was wrong very early on. My Dad was a WWII vet and he had lots of PTSD before they put those letters together. Every holiday he spent was nothing like you’d see on TV or hear on the radio [in my father’s case], so he’d sit off in the bedroom watching TV and drink heavily [we all had someone like that right?]. He’d come out for dinner all melancholy and depressed. At some point during the meal he’d pick someone to start a fight with, usually me. I remember one time I asked my Mom to pass the stuffing and my Dad’s response was, Did you tell me to shut up?! You never tell me to shut up! I’m in charge here and what I say goes!!

Oh dear. Looking back I was never scared because I was in my 20’s former fencing team so I could duck any punches he’d throw. I was into bodybuilding and could bench press 300 lbs and did 75 lb curls. If he took a swing at me and I swung back they’d have to pick him up off the ground.

But enough of my screwed up family an their holiday experiences. I really wanted to talk about the rebels. For me it was Christmas where we’d have ham on Christmas Eve and Turkey Christmas day. I finally switched it over to making prime rib that would feed us for four days and make our neighbors dog my best friend when I’d give him the bone.

I haven’t figured out what to swap out the turkey for on Thanksgiving, but I would love to try some roast venison if he was cheap and easy to get. The only hunter in my family that hunts deer lives in Montana and that’s a distance for him to ship it. It’s not that I don’t like turkey, but we always end up wasting it as I get tired of picking the meat off the bones and the sight of me doing it just horrifies my wife and she runs out of the room with nausea. I’ve made soups before, but now that I’m on a low salt diet that’s a little difficult since that brine inject most turkeys now. I just haven’t figured out what might me appropriate yet.

At least on Christmas day we’ll go Jewish and get some Chinese take out and watch a good movie.